Hammers Battle for Point
By Tom Dowsett
Thursday 12 Feb 2015 11:50:00
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West Ham United may have felt disappointed by the nature of Sunday's 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United, but they will been delighted to come away from St Mary's with a point, as the game with Southampton ended goalless.

With Kevin Nolan, and Mark Noble missing from Sunday's line-up. Sam Allardyce gave starts to Morgan Amalfitano and Carlton Cole.

The home side started brightly and could have taken the lead early on, but Carl Jenkinson did superbly to clear Sadio Mané's effort off the line.

Jenkinson was in the way again to deal with another Southampton effort minutes later, as the hosts kept the pressure up.

The first real chance for the visitors occurred on 14 minutes, when Amalfitano tried to head the ball but Steven Davis blocked the effort.

The Saints had another chance at the other end, just two minutes later, when West Ham's goalkeeper Adrian failed to deal with a set-piece and Florin Gardos headed towards goal but Cole was on hand to save the Hammers.

On 37 minutes, Ronald Koeman's side had a golden chance to take the lead when Alex Song and Aaron Cresswell managed to give possession away and Graziano Pellè flicked the ball out to Eljero Elia, who then found Mane and the striker sent an effort inches wide of the post.

There were further chances for the hosts before half-time but when Craig Pawson blew his whistle, the scores remained level.

Big Sam used the break to make a substitution bringing on Matt Jarvis in place of Enner Valencia.

Five minutes after the break, Carlton Cole was perhaps lucky to only be given a booking for a dangerous challenge on Mya Yoshida.

On 55 minutes, Allardyce decided to send an Andy Carroll in place of Diafra Sakho. Seconds later, Jarvis found Stewart Downing in space and set him up for a shot but Yoshida closed him down and the and the effort was deflected away.

Just after the hour mark, Creswell intercepted a pass and sent the ball back to Adrian. Mane hurried the Spaniards' clearance and the keeper tried to take the ball past him but in so doing, handled outside of the area and gave Pawson had no choice but to issue a straight red card and reduce West Ham to ten men.

The Hammers' boss was now forced into his final change, as Cole made way for Jussi Jaaskelainen to take his place in goal.

The Irons were effectively down to nine men as the game went on, due to Carroll suffering a re-occurrence of his ankle injury which forced him off at Anfield a couple of weeks ago. As big Sam had made all three changes, the striker had to remain on the pitch for the remainder of the encounter but left the ground on crutches. it is thought that he will be out of action for a considerable amount of time.

The fourth official signalled that five minutes of stoppage time were to be played at the end of the game and deep into the allotted period, Jaaskelainen preserved a point for his team, as he made a number of crucial saves. Firstly, when he palmed Jose Fonte's effort away for a corner and then heading towards the last minute, he produced the save of the evening to keep out Davis' effort.

The noise from the travelling support when the final whistle blew showed just how much it meant to them, as the East Londoners turned in another outstanding performance, especially when their team was decimated by injuries.

They now have a suspension to deal with as well, ahead of Saturday's visit to West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup fifth-round.


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